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Success and Failure of Diplomacy: Role of Diplomats in Negotiations
March 1, 2020

Diplomacy in 21st Century

March 01, 2020

By: Waseem Akhtar

How the diplomats, diplomacy and negotiations are playing their role in contemporary world. Modernization makes diplomacy more complex than ever in 21st Century. Diplomacy is everyday routine in our ages, in the very interaction of human beings ranging from individual relations to family relations, social interactions, groups, organizations, political parties, state to state relations, international alliances and international organizations etc. It is an art of negotiations to mediate or to reach an agreement for the well-being and to provide fair share that should be legitimate, justifiable and according to the international law and norms.

In the 21st century, diplomacy becomes more and more complex comparing to the past centuries. As Henry Kissinger well describes as due to the advancement of technology and means of communications and similarly as by the Harry R. Rudin said difficulties for diplomats due to public opinion and complex and vast specifications in states institutions and matters. Hans J Morgenthau describes four tasks of diplomacy; as it must determine its objectives by considering state’s actual power and must assess the objective of other nations and their actual power. Diplomacy must determine how these different objectives are compatible with each other and what suitable to the pursuit of its objectives. Today the states engage in the arms race and to gain political weight, making a block, forming alliances, weapons of mass destruction and intercontinental missiles all are made diplomacy a more difficult task.

Whoever it can be said that diplomacy is playing her role very efficiently around the globe. This is best explained when some sort of agreement is reached, if we go furthermore the agreement is that in which all the parties are something gaining and something losing this situation can be said best example of diplomacy. But sometimes diplomacy seems to be failed like the situations when all the channels of talks between the parties are closed including back channels or when after the result of round after round of negotiations but parties go with more hostility or difference among each other’s or full war between the hostile parties this will be conceder definite failure of diplomacy. While conducting the diplomacy it highly depends on the qualities of diplomats and negotiators. The diplomats should be intelligent, experienced, having planning techniques, making strategies, scheduling, well knowledge of the language, aware of its own power and opponent’s power and aware of the international scenarios.

Today we can see diplomacy in action at the international scene. A very good example of successful diplomacy is Iran nuclear deal after the long negotiations with the threats of the war ending with peacefully through the successful diplomacy by the major powers of the world and Iran. Another example is the ongoing peace negotiations in Afghanistan, among the Afghan Taliban, Afghan civil government, United States, Pakistan, China, and other stakeholders. Through the successful negotiations, some Taliban groups and warlords surrendered and taking part in civil government. Another example to be given the Colombian government historic peace agreement with the rebels that ended j up the 52 years old arms conflict in the country. Many other successful examples of diplomacy can be given. The international community should more strongly promote the diplomatic culture around the globe for peace and stability. Diplomacy has potential to bring the dream of an ideal world which will be peaceful and prosperous for all the mankind.

While conducting diplomacy in present political norms there are some somber problems that are created by diplomats themselves. There are emerging trends of publicity, populism, fragmentation of global issues and major votes. Sometimes public opinion and majority vote create grave risks for peace and in this situation diplomacy lose its basic responsibilities, norms, and rules. It is hard to work for diplomacy while it conducted in the shadows of publicity and majority decision.  In a significant number of states, the military is still dominating foreign policy or at least some areas of foreign policy. The military is always an instrument of war and will never be an instrument of peace as foreign policy is, if the diplomacy practiced by armed forces it will only bring war. For the peace, nations should be willing to compromise and avoid taking a position from where they cannot move ahead without grave risks.